Haití: an uprising demands the resignation of the president and the end of imperialist interference

On October 2, a new massive mobilization of the Haitian people occupied the streets of Port-au-Prince and the most important cities of the country. In this Caribbean country there is an uprising against the representatives of the most extreme imperialist exploitation, president Jovenel Moise and the MINUJUS troops. Here is an interview with Henry Boisrolin, coordinator of the Democratic Committee of Haiti in Argentina and South America.

How big was the mobilization on Friday?

HB: It is hard to find in our history a massiveness similar to that of this protest. Maybe those in October 17 or November 18 last year. In Port-au-Prince there where hundreds of thousands, over 500.000 people. I know the city and from how long the columns that reached the city of Chorrillos were, I can tell you that there was even more people. There were hundreds of thousands who took to the streets to express their rejection of the interference of the international community and to demand the resignation of Jovenel. The proposal of a “dialogue” between the current executive and the opposition was rejected.

The mobilization went to the main MINUJUS base and although the police tried to prevent it, a delegation of representatives, senators and public figures delivered a document in which they demanded the withdrawal of the United Nations’ support for the president.

There also were clashes. An activist was killed by police bullets in northern Haiti, in Cap-Haitien, the second largest city. There were several arrests as well. There was repression. There was an abusive use of tear gas by the police in the Capital. There was not a single city in Haiti where people did not take to the streets to protest this.

The Friday actions gave a boost to the struggle. It was confirmed that Jovenel Moise is the past, a page that has to be terned. The Haitian people clearly voiced that they demand this man´s resignation. The event gave great visibility to the struggle, and those who doubted whether to dialogue or not realised that Jovenel must go. The Haitian people have revoked Jovenel, he is there, but he does not lead anything.

Next week, there is a mobilization of solidarity in the Dominican Republic, in front of the Haitian embassy, organized by the left. It is very important because this is the country with which we share the same island and whose ruling class supports imperialist policy against Haiti.

Is there an energy shortage after the break with Venezuela?

H.B: Since breaking with Maduro, Venezuela oil no longer enters Haiti. But it is not just that. Fundamentally, the state has stolen so much that it has no money left to pay for the shipments of gas that come from abroad, because the country does not produce oil. It has no money, it owes payments. In addition, it needs to increase the price and cannot because the country is on fire from north to south and from east to west. Confronted with this, the government has its hands and feet tied.

This takes place in a government that is in power and has not had a budget approved in a year and a half. People do not know how much money goes in and goes out.

The other problem is that it has not had an approved government for six or seven months. All the prime ministers it wanted to impose had to be approved by both chambers, of the deputies and the senators, and they did not approve them.

Then there is a difficult situation. The government lives in unconstitutionality, violating everything that is written in the Haitian Constitution of 1987.

How has the situation evolved in Haiti?

HB: First of all, Haiti is a social formation that we can define as neo-colonial, fundamentally dependent on the United States, after France and Canada. The three countries rule, but fundamentally the US, American imperialism is the dominant one.

The neo-colonial system was imposed from 1915 to 1934 with the first North American invasion of the country. That is the negative basis of a growing poverty that now reaches this subhuman structure and living conditions.

Some data reflect this: 70% of the active population has no job, the infant mortality rate is the highest in the entire region, the average per capita income does not exceed 400 or 600 dollars annually, millions live with less than 2 dollars a day, there is high inflation and one dollar is worth 95 gourdes, the national currency. The middle class practically does not exist, it survives. There are armed gangs. The bandits are armed by people linked to power, to the party that is in the government, the Tet Kale Haitian Party.

In the midst of this, the Haitian people try to take hold of their destiny, recover their sovereignty that was violated a long time ago, but especially in 2004 with the occupation of the country by the MINUSTAH, the United Nations Stabilization Mission. A kind of humanitarian aid that ended up raping girls and women, committing massacres in popular neighbourhoods, repressing manifestations, manipulating fraudulent elections, etc.

Was the MINUSTAH replaced by another mission?

HB: Yes, the  MINUSTAH existed from 2004 to 2017. But in the face of the flood of accusations of human rights violations and especially the cholera epidemic introduced by the troops of Nepal as part of the MINUSTAH, which caused more than 20,000 deaths and almost 1,000,000 infections, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon himself, before leaving his position had to recognize the responsibility of the United Nations. International and local scientists, human rights organizations and others checked it. Ban Ki Moon said there could be no compensation for the victims because the UN troops have immunity. Then, in the face of crimes against humanity, he invokes the issue of the diplomatic immunity, which is barbaric!

We have a president elected in fraudulent elections, as they officially say that 21% of the electorate participated and that he won the elections with 500,000 votes. That president could have legality, but not legitimacy! The electoral roll was 6,200,000 and he won, according to them, with 500,000, which is nothing.

This president, after investigations by members of the Senate and by an institution of the Haitian State, acknowledged his participation in acts of corruption, in which he actively participated in the waste and the theft of 4.2 million dollars of Petrocaribe’s funds. His wife is also involved in a corruption scandal around the manufacture of national identity documents.

President Jovenel’s name is cited 69 times in a report by a state institution accusing the president. Then the people ask for the truth. They demand to know where the Petrocaribe money is and demand the president’s resignation.

The outbursts began in July last year, when, by order of the IMF, the government tried to raise the gas prices and the country exploded.

In less than three years, the president has already appointed four prime ministers, there is a situation of ingovernability, and not only in Port-au-Prince but in all corners of the country. That is the current situation. Now the people ask for his resignation. Collectives such as groups of professionals, writers, religious people, even the economic forum that brings together several businessmen, ask for the resignation of the president. But he is still in power because he has the support of the US and what is called the CoGroup. The CoGroup is formed by the North American ambassador, with the ambassador of Spain, Germany, France, Canada, Brazil and the representative of the Secretary General of the UN and the OAS. They dictate. They say that the president cannot leave, that he has to finish his term and call for a “dialogue.”

But in the face of so many crimes, in the face of so many acts of corruption and massacres, like the massacre that took place last year, on November 13 in a neighbourhood called La Saline, where 80 people were massacred, they disposed of 21 dismembered bodies and filmed pigs eating the remains. Massacres like the one in the Carrefour Feuilles neighbourhood. Even the moderate opposition does not accept a dialogue with this man. It is a chaotic situation.

So far there are officially 20 dead, hundreds wounded and arrested, since the last popular rebellion began four weeks ago. The only support this man has is what I have told you: imperialism, some rich people who protect him, the Haitian police and groups of foreign and local mercenaries.

There is a new interference of the CoGroup in the country´s affairs, in which they had the impudence of calling members of the opposition to say that a dialogue with the president was necessary, a proposal that as I commented was rejected. There was a great demonstration on Friday 2, a mobilization in every corner of the country, but mainly in Port-au-Prince, because that is where the mobilization went to the premises of the MINIJUS, the United Nations Mission in support of  Haitian Justice, that spawn that replaced the other spawn, the MINUSTAH.

Who leads this process?

HB: The immensity of the movement has as a consequence that it is not particularly hegemonised by someone. But there are members who are organised, not everything is spontaneous. There are struggle strategies, there are tactics to fight on the streets. There are organizations that call to action, some with greater insertion than others. This leadership will come out of the struggles, not from a coffee table. This is fundamental.

Interviewed by Gustavo Gimenez